Archive is our repository of posts. These cover the Beach, Harbour, Events, Places to visit and more. We continually add new posts and “Archive” is the place to find these. Even local and national current events appear in our updates.
Stand up paddleboarding has become a fast-growing popular pastime around Weymouth. The sport offers fitness, sea views, fresh air and fun in equal measure. Numerous clubs have sprung up and lessons are available on Weymouth Beach, at Bowleze Cove, Portland Harbour, among others. Even our neighbours join in, bridging the gap from beginner to intermediate level. A prime advantage for them is they live just 30 yards from the beach, like us. I tried my hand at it but my wife said it was like watching a breaching whale! The nephews are good at it, though.
Lessons for Stand up Paddleboarding in front of Aaran Guesthouse
Some useful links for Stand Up Paddleboarding clubs and lessons
It is great to see pleasure craft starting to return to Weymouth Harbour. The lockdown has been long and devoid of much normal activity. Yachts and Tall Ships have been sorely missed this year. Although there have been a few stand up paddleboarders around.
Meanwhile, in the Harbour, the pontoons are back and align better with available services (power, water, etc). There is hope for a new Harbourmaster appointment. The new Ferry Steps are open and Weymouth Bay cruises are back. Unfortunately, the Portland Ferry and rowboat ferries will not start till 2021. There is hope that a new cross-channel Ferry may be in sight, following negotiations.
I acknowledge the contagious nature of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and that the NHS and many other public health authorities still recommend practicing social distancing. I further acknowledge that Aaran Guesthouse has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I further acknowledge that Aaran Guesthouse can not guarantee that I will not become infected with the Coronavirus/Covid-19.
I understand that the risk of becoming exposed to and/or infected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and others, including, but not limited to, guesthouse staff, and other clients and their families.
I voluntarily seek services provided by Aaran Guesthouse and acknowledge that I am increasing my risk to exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I acknowledge that I must comply with all set procedures to reduce the spread while attending my appointment. I attest that:
I am not experiencing any symptom of illness such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
I have not traveled internationally within the last 14 days.
I have not traveled to a highly impacted area in the last 14 days.
I do not believe I have been exposed to someone with a suspected and/or confirmed case of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I have not been diagnosed with Coronavirus/Covid-19 and not yet cleared as non contagious by state or local public health authorities.
I am following all NHS recommended guidelines as much as possible and limiting my exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I hereby release and agree to hold Aaran Guesthouse (“Aaran House”) harmless from, and waive on behalf of myself, my heirs, and any personal representatives any and all causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses and compensation for damage or loss to myself and/or property that may be caused by any act, or failure to act of the guesthouse, or that may otherwise arise in any way in connection with any services received from Aaran Guesthouse.
I understand that this release discharges Aaran Guesthouse from any liability or claim that I, my heirs, or any personal representatives may have against the guesthouse with respect to any bodily injury, illness, death, medical treatment, or property damage that may arise from, or in connection to, any services received from Aaran Guesthouse.
This liability waiver and release extends to the guesthouse together with all owners, partners, and employees.
We are re-opening on 4th July and have our safety measures in place already
UK Government has confirmed that many more businesses may re-open soon, we have started plans. Therefore, part of our planning for re-opening on 4th July, is to re-open our booking diaries and add safety messages for prospective guests.
We suspect UK Government may require risk assessment as part of the legal framework for re-opening. So far, they have “mentioned” this for non-essential shops but have NOT clearly stated it as legally required. Accordingly, we think HSE may require it but they also have NOT been clear.
In this series of posts, we tried to outline what the Covid-19 lock down has meant for us. We have strayed into political comment here and there. But only because the Government’s handling of the emergency has been disastrously slow and inept. Allegedly, the UK is suffering the World’s worst economic impact. And we have the second-highest death-rate in the World. When Minister after Minister comes on TV daily spouting they have “done the right thing at the right time” it grates on the nerves. They point to their “unprecendented” achievements and it pales compared to many other countries. Claims to be “following the Science”, just look like getting their excuses ready.
In this period of uncertainty, we want to re-open in July, on the 4th as vaguely suggested by Government. We think we have everything in place to re-open safely, including training, risk assessments and PPE. We hope our customers will feel safe when they return to Aaran House.
During the last month, we have seen many changes. Government ignore the warnings and press on with easements on lockdown. Measures included permission to travel and meet in small groups. Some shielded persons may now venture outside. We anticipate re-opening on July 4th. Although this may change again, depending on UK.Gov restrictions.
We do not intend to dwell too much on the “Demonic” Cummings affair. His betrayal of the British People and arrogantly issued web of blatant lies must go down in History as something akin to Benedict Arnold, Judas Iscariot or maybe Pol Pot, before he took over completely. UK Government has lost respect and trust in supporting this treacherous weasel. (No insult intended to weasels!) Again, Government ignore the warnings. Maybe enough survivors will remain to vote out the incompetents who steered us into personal and financial tragedy on a mass scale.
The results may have been evident in the displays of thoughtless, careless and senseless crowds in the good weather of the following weekend. Basically, many folk started to believe the rules did not apply to them and we fervently hope a second wave is not the consequence.
Lack of trust in UK Government
Many questions remain, by NHS, Scientists, fellow MP’s and Head of UK Statistics, as to:
Why “quarantine” visitors now instead of months ago?
Should’nt “Test, track and trace” have started BEFORE the numbers grew?
Abroad, trace methods include phone tracking, surveillance camera data, credit card data, etc – why not here?
Are there “invalid” numbers of deaths – and test data for that matter?
After seeing the examples set by South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and others, why did UK Government ignore the warnings and delay for over a month before taking (the wrong!) actions?
Seeing Turkey take very prompt actions, including SENDING test personnel out to suspected victims AND providing results AND contact tracking data WITHIN 24 hours, why cannot the UK do that?
Why did UK Government ignore the warnings about pandemics in the reports from 2007, 2011 and Cygnus Report of 2016 – all of which highlighted lack of preparedness, lack of PPE, lack of respirators and vulnerability in Care Homes? They commissioned and paid for these reports!
We try to avoid politics in our blogs but, in this case, many lives are at risk and a floppy-haired child of four could have done better (with a “trusted” Chief Aide, of course!) That is our opinion.
Quarantine for inbound travellers
Well, it’s not a quarantine is it? Quarantine is corralling suspected cases together, while track and trace goes on. Politely asking travellers to self-isolate for 14 days serves no purpose except to continue to cripple the Tourism industry. For reference, the Tourism Sector is the third largest in the UK. (Worth about £127Billion a year, or 8 times as much as TV, Radio and Films together!)
BAME – Groups at special risk from Covid-19
Along with elderly males and those with certain pre-existing conditions, BAME groups appear to be at greater risk from infection and severity. (BAME = Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups).
Interestingly, the lowest death rates are for central African countries although things may change in future data sets.
China, where it all began, has a death rate of 3.3 while India has 4.5. Nations such as Nigeria, Chad, Congo, Cite d’Ivoire, Somalia (etc) are typically below 2.0 death rates so far. Despite highly effective and prompt measures to combat spread and track cases, Turkey has a death rate around 56. The higher susceptibility to infection and death seems to be local to European countries, as yet.
1. NOT “following the science”
WHO study finds 1 metre is adequate for social distancing. Blindly sticking to 2 metres threatens £137Billion hospitality sector AND 1million jobs.
2. “Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time”
Labour Shadow Home Secretary claims “only 273 people were quarantined during the pandemic period”. However 18 million travellers were allowed in. No wonder the disease spread so fast and killed so many people.
3. Top Italian scientists claim the virus is losing potency
If true, this would explain the fast peak in deaths, followed by a long slow decline in numbers. It also implies all the UK measures were a complete waste of time.
4. “Test, Track and Trace” not going to be useful
WHO studies have shown that asymptomatic cases are not as infectious as first thought. This means test, track and trace needs to focus on the 2 or so days when symptoms show. However, results MUST be much, much faster to be effective (10 minutes approx in many countries!) Also, the programme is at least 3 months too late.UK still does not have enough testing capacity either.(Government ignore the warnings!)
5. Lockdown may have been a waste of time
The UK lockdown was not effective, too late and has cost the economy over £300Billion (and counting!) By contrast, Sweden has had no lockdown and only about 1/8th as many deaths. However, the Swedish economy has hardly been impacted. Unlike ours.
6. Nightingale Hospitals – a white elephant?
NHS London Nightingale Hospital opened on 3rd April, over 2 months after the first Covid-19 case in the UK. As of 4th May it stands empty. Five of the other 6 such hospitals are now open. Meanwhile, in China, the 1000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital opened in Hubei Province on 1st February. It took just 10 days to build and is totally “state-of-the-art”. Nurses can mostly tend patients remotely, minimising carer exposure. The 1600-bed Leishenshan Hospital opened on 8th February. (Engineering and Technology, March 2020, 92-93).Even the Gaza Strip has a large field hospital for Covid-19 patients.
In a normal year, there are over 200 Weymouth events, mostly on the Beach or Weymouth Bay. The Seafood Festival takes place on the Harbourside. Harley Davison bikes gather on the Pavilion forecourt. Britain’s biggest New Years Eve Fancy Dress Party stretches right across the Town. Rather than write a massive tome, we thought we would just show images from a few events we enjoyed. (See the index at the foot of the page)
The two rival towns united in 1571, by Act of Parliament. This did not succeed in averting hostilities in the English Civil War. A cannonball can still be seen, embedded into a wall in Maiden Street. The resulting “double-borough” may be the reason why there were more councillors than in most UK townships, until recent reorganisations. Later, the Harbour became a busy fishing port.
Some historical events
Previous posts in this “Postcard” series highlight some of our local history. Developments include The Esplanade, contributions to the response to the Spanish Armada, smuggling, piracy and founding of the American Colonies.
A succession of piers and embankments led to the extension of these lands and the population grew. The present-day St Mary and St Edmund streets were no more than pathways between grassy slopes.
Accommodation in the new tourist spot
By the 18th Century, houses in the growing “Weymouth Town” were a mix of ancient timber frame buildings and stone constructions, with mullion windows. The 1776 Improvement Act resulted in removal of thatch roofs by about 1784. The development of Weymouth as a tourist resort began with the visits by King George III, from 1750 to 1805. During this period, many more visitors, particularly wealthy patrons and gentry, chose to come to the Town but suitable accommodation was scarce.
By the mid-nineteenth century, the Royal Baths, coffee salons, assembly and reading rooms were in regular use and some commercial buildings, such as banks, appeared.
Theatres, banks and open spaces
The Theatre Royal was, in 1771, one of the first purpose-built theatres outside London. Alexandra Gardens became public gardens in 1867, with a bandstand in 1891. In 1924, a concert hall replaced the bandstand.
Roller-skating rinks provided adventurous entertainment at the Burdon Hotel and Grange Road. The coming of affordable rail travel for all in the 1850’s saw rapid development in Weymouth. Trade routes from the Channel Islands added greatly to the wealth of the area. New Town Centre dwellings, shops and inns opened, with many now offering modest rooms for travelers. Weymouth Town had arrived!
It looks like the “tail” of the pandemic plan and easing lockdown is going to be a long. drawn-out affair. We have switched to less frequent blog updates. This update covers a fortnight. The next will cover a month. Meanwhile, we are all hoping for a return to summery scenes before too long.
Self isolating and staying at home
At home, we are still self-isolating as much as possible, collective shopping and waving to neighbours from a safe distance. About once a fortnight, we take waste plastic bottles and cans to the recycling bins about 300 yards away. This is simply to prevent blocking of our fire exit. The neighbourhood online quizzes have stopped briefly, while we pause to think of new tricky questions.
Recovery – easing lockdown
We are also pondering the weekend (week 7) announcements about slight easing of lockdown, with a degree of trepidation. Uncertainty remains about exactly how our business would cope with working under the present pandemic plan. We have re-opened bookings for January 2021 but will probably not serve breakfasts. This would be to protect guests via maintained social distancing.
The article suggests the impact of the Covid-19 emergency and lockdown is equivalent to three consecutive winter seasons. Certainly, in our case, we lose an average of £3,000 – £4000 per month in winter because of fixed costs. It takes us till mid-July to start to break even – and that is not going to be possible this year. Many colleague businesses are in far worse shape than us.
Gaps in Government help for Tourism businesses
The report goes on to highlight dependent businesses, such as Tourism Travel companies and booking agents. Such groups do not receive any Government support presently. Further, the many suppliers, delivery drivers, repair firms and specialist infrastructure firms are also at financial risk and facing very uncertain futures. The Tourism landscape is going to be pretty bleak for a long time after Covid-19 has been and gone.
(Below is a quasi-political section which readers can skip if they wish – at least it’s not our usual “science-y” section! It includes a brief description that shows British planning was years ahead of other Nations. BUT our complacency and austerity tripped us up when action was actually needed.)
In the late 16th century, there was no sign of what was to become the Esplanade. There was a grassy strip, separating the small town of Melcombe Regis from the Beach. The only “construction” possibly marking the line of the future Esplanade was a defence platform. This guarded against French attacks. By the 1750’s, several bathing “buses” were in use. These allowed visitors to enjoy the health benefits of sea-bathing while protecting from the clay-like sea bed. Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, built the first notable house along the shore-line (Gloucester Lodge). He urged his brother, KIng George III, to visit and the grand social life of Weymouth took off. The germ of Weymouth Esplanade began.
Georgian Architecture on Weymouth Esplanade
Early on, it became apparent there was not enough accommodation of sufficient standard for visiting gentry. “Promenades” along the sea front became popular as crowds followed the King on his daily walks. Unfortunately, the sea front at that time consisted mostly of rear gardens and a long, thin rubbish dump of sorts. Consequently, visitors stayed in rather poor housing in the Town Centre. Andrew Sproule built the original Royal Hotel. The architect, Hamilton, designed new Georgian terraces, in sections, forming a broad curve along the sea front.
Hamilton designed the York buildings in the 1780’s, then Gloucester Row in the 1790’s and, to the South, Devonshire Buildings (1805) and Pulteney Buildings (1810), followed by Johnstone Row. His last work was Saint Mary’s Church in the Town. To match the rounded termination at Johnstone Row, in 1845, the Roundhouse, on the end of the Devonshire buildings, has a distinctive “lighthouse” appearance. The later Beach House on Brunswick Terrace is also in semi-circular form. English Heritage listed most of these terraces. Thus, they require to be of more or less uniform appearance and decoration.
The Great Tempest of 1824 destroyed much of the new Esplanade, but rebuilding and further development quickly restarted. The retaining wall appeared in 1834. In 1887, the Victorians built the Jubilee Clocktower, to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. Two libraries flourished, along with Assembly Rooms and a Theatre near the present-day Bond Street. The Theatre closed in 1859. Around then, the arrival of railway services to Weymouth saw the advent of seaside holidays for the masses. Goerge Stevenson gifted an area of land (previously used as a communal midden) to the Town and this became known Alexandra Gardens. By 1924, it added a Theatre and then turned into an amusement arcade in the 1960’s.
In 1889, the Victorian shelters appeared along the Esplanade. By 1908, there was a new Theatre, The Pavilion, later The Ritz, sited at the Southern end of The Esplanade. A fire destroyed The Ritz in 1954 and the New Weymouth Pavilion was built on the same site in 1960.
The Esplanade in Wartime
During the Second World War, The Esplanade saw plenty of action, mainly leading up to the Normandy Landings. About 517,000 Allied Troops and over 100,000 vehicles travelled down the Esplanade to reach their embarkation points in the Harbour. A number of the sea front hotels were converted into military headquarters, with interconnecting doors still visible in some cases. In more recent times, the beach retaining wall was realigned and raised, along with broadening of the Esplanade itself.
The modern Esplanade
Currently, the Esplanade is a broad, sweeping road, stretching from Brunswick Terrace for over 800 metres to Weymouth Pavilion, on the Peninsula. There are only about 85 guesthouses and hotels operating currently. However, these are supplemented by various amusement arcades, shops and cafes. Rossi’s Ice Cream Parlour has been operating since 1934. Although the traffic is busy, it is still a splendid walk to enjoy the Georgian architecture on one side and the glorious sea view on the other. Modern additions include illuminated planters, flower beds and the old Lifeguard/Tourist Centre building is being renovated to become a “superloo” for visitors. New art-installation lighting coruscates with innumerable changing light patterns at night. A feast for the eyes!
In this era of Covid-19 and restrictions around travel and social contact, we hope we can welcome guests and provide a safe environment under Government guidelines and complying with some in-house safety measures.
Regrettably, we cannot serve breakfasts. This is to ensure proper social distancing
We cannot clean rooms during your stay. We can provide clean towels and toiletries outside your door
There is sanitizer hand gel provided in your room and public areas, along with some PPE (gloves, masks, etc)
We ask that guests do not meet together in close proximity and observe cough and hand-cleaning hygiene
Please do not pass by each other on stairs. We clean all communal contact surfaces multiple times daily.
Please provide a reasonably accurate time of arrival so we can stagger arrivals and maintain social distancing
Between 9.00 am and 8.00 pm we are available by phone to answer your requests
We have our Covid-19 Risk Assessment, PPE and Coronavirus prevention certificates plus instructions for safe use of PPE available in our public areas. There is 70% alcohol hand gel, gloves, masks, bootees and individual hand gel sachets in the entrance and rooms.